Hello and welcome back to The Post-It Note!
Earlier this year I began The Post-It Note’s Reflection Series and it was a moment for me to really take some time and look back not just on the previous year, but also my life in general. I think it’s pretty important to have moments where you can look to the past for reflection to guide you in your present and also into your future. There are also times where you’ll need to look back to your past to close a chapter, not to forget, but stop it from continuing to take up precious space in your mental and emotion vaults.
When you hold onto your past you carry that weight with you everywhere you go and sometimes our pasts can be heavy and it will wear on you over time. This baggage is so unnecessary, and although it can be difficult to let go, letting go needs to be made into a priority if you want to be able to move forward.
In a lot of my blogs, I tend to use myself in many examples of trauma and depression, I’m not an expert in anxiety, trauma, and depression, but I like to think that I’m an expert in myself and completely qualified to share my story in hopes that one of you reading this will find the courage to work through your traumas. I will use myself again to discuss how my past perversely affected me and how it could have continued to influence my life negatively but didn’t. I will also share the steps I went through to release myself from my trauma.
My uncle is a very kind and loving man, but when I was growing up, I only knew him as a liar because for the most parts our interactions and conversations began with promises and ended with lies. When I was a child my uncle loved me dearly and wanted to give me the world, and he would tell me so, by promising ponies, other things too, but always ponies for his little princess. Obviously, I never got a pony but what I did receive was a lesson that people lie and can not be trusted even if they love you.
My father also had a major issue with lies, he was so hardcore about it that he instilled in us that the worst thing you could possibly do was lie and if you ever did, he was likely to not speak with you for a very long time, if at all. If he did eventually speak with you, your integrity in his eyes was forever damaged. You were a liar plain and simple and could not be trusted again no matter what you did. These childhood events compounded with other moments of betrayal in my life just emboldened my mindset and cemented that lesson as fact in my heart.
I carried this mantra with me, always in the forefront of my little mind throughout my childhood and well into my adult years. It affected the relationships that I had with people both romantically and platonically, I especially didn’t trust the kindness of strangers, because if my own family could tell me a bold-faced lie, why not someone who doesn’t even know me? It has affected the way that I view opportunities and the generosity of others.
It also instilled in me an obsession with being as honest with people as possible, even if it hurt, because being honest, even if was painful to hear, was better than a lie. Trust me, carrying the weight of severe trust issues entertains a pretty solitary lifestyle. In fact, I’m a self-proclaimed anti-social extrovert!
Have I ever told a lie, yes, I have. I think that people have an innate sense of self-preservation and if I did something that I KNEW was going to get me in trouble when I was growing up, I told a lie about it. I was never good at lying and I got caught most of the time, but above all of that, I hated myself when I lied, because I didn’t want to be like my uncle and I was terrified of disappointing my dad.
When we go through trauma in our childhood that impacts us later in our adulthood we have to go through several steps to move forward. This is the process that I took for my trust issues and other traumas I’ve worked through:
- Recognize it, give it the floor for a moment, depending on how severe your trauma is, I would strongly recommend therapy. Somethings are too powerful to go at it alone and there is no shame at need help to tackle your problems.
- Once it’s been acknowledged, start to take the steps of forgiveness. In this case, I forgave my uncle and forgave myself for my resentments and told myself that “I understand how I was hurt every time I was let down, but I don’t need to punish anyone anymore for what happened.”
- After forgiveness comes healing and closure. I was fortunate enough to be able to have closure with my uncle and I don’t hold anything but love in my heart for him. There was never any malice or spite in his heart. Of course, there are times where you don’t get to have closure with the ones that wronged you. You will need to give yourself closure. I have had to do this for myself with other traumas that I’ve gone through and although it’s not easy, it can be done. If you would like to know more about what this looks like, leave me a comment or send me an email in the Contact page and I’ll be more than happy to discuss it in a future post.
- My final step was to evolve from it, I needed to I believe that I went through this for a reason and there had to have been something to learn from it. I don’t believe anything is meaningless. When dealing with my trauma it is important to learn from it and take what I’ve learned and manifest it into something positive. I’ve learned that people do lie and they have their reasons to do so, those reasons have nothing to do with me. I’ve also learned that trust is a gift and needs to be earned, if my trust is abused, it can be earned back with conditions that my trust cannot be abused again. This is my most important step because it allows me to truly move forward confidently and without fear that I’ll be taken advantage of again.
I hope that these steps can help you if you find that you are holding on to the burden of trauma. I find them to be extremely useful in helping me work things out. Holding onto your past does nothing for you, not your happiness or your health. It just causes unnecessary stress that will destroy you from the inside out so you might as well work through it and evolve from it.
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